Amy Poehler’s Surprising Career Advice: Care Less

Amy Poehler Yes Please

As I mentioned last week, I’m currently reading Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I would have finished it by now, but it’s freakishly heavy (seriously, you could do bicep curls with this book), so I haven’t been able to take it out the house – hence my slow reading pace.

Anyway, over the weekend I finally reached the chapter titled “treat your career like a bad boyfriend”, in which Amy reveals her tip for success is to “care less”.

Confused? Well so was I at first, because this appears to go against everything we’ve ever been told. (Amy later jokes her second book will be “coauthored with Sheryl Sandberg titled Lean Back.”) But on closer inspection this is actually some of the best advice I have ever been given. I found it so enlightening that I’m going to share some of Amy’s wisdom below.

“Hard work doesn’t always matter. You can be the best at making contacts and going after jobs, but then suddenly you want it too much. Suddenly everyone feels how bad you want it and they don’t want to give it to you… I am introducing a new idea. Try to care less. Practise ambivalence. Learn to let go of wanting it. Treat your career like a bad boyfriend… You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are or how good people think you look… Remember, your career is a bad boyfriend. It likes it when you don’t depend on it. It will reward you every time you don’t act needy. It will chase you if you act like other things (passion, friendship, family, longevity) are more important to you.” – Amy Poehler

As a blogger I constantly get weighed down worrying about the numbers – stats, followers, Instagram likes, etc etc – rather than taking pleasure in the work itself. But from now on I’m going to follow Amy’s lead and try and practise ambivalence. Has her advice also resonated with you? Will you start treating your career like a bad boyfriend, or you do think this is a bad idea? Let me know…

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  1. Lola Byatt says:

    This is perfect advice for a miserable, Monday morning 🙂

    This advice is challenging us to be more content with ourselves, to appreciate our own ability and not worry about other people’s judgement. To basically feel good about ourselves all on our own. I had a moment like this recently. I have a massive fear of presentations. I however, have a massive love for Drama and I’m free of any fear when it comes to going on stage and pretending to be somebody else. But if I’m asked to give a presentation and I am required to be myself, I go into panic mode and wonder if I can come up with a decent enough lie to get out of it or worse, I often fantasize about actually becoming sick the day before just so I can get out of giving a talk. I think my fear stems from me wanting to give this perfect talk which stimulate debate and end in applause. By accepting the worst possible outcome (i.e. everybody will think it is rubbish and they’ll think I am stupid) I can give a talk with more confidence. Practicing the talk before hand also helps 🙂

    ps. I started Bossypants yesterday. Really enjoying it so far! x

  2. Jessica says:

    Finding joy in your work is what’s going to make you more successful in the long run. I love Amy’s advice and it comes at a perfect time on a Monday morning.

  3. Cindy khor says:

    Care less… I think this advice resonate with me, particularly today. I’m always being bogged down with how people perceive me or comparing my life to my friends. Its definitely making me moody and miserable.

    Thanks for the advice as it comes just in time. I really need to get a breather and let go. Just let it be. Be in the present and appreciate what I’ve already got. Caring less doesn’t mean neglecting it but more of imparting less emotion onto something. I’ll need to practice this immediately.

  4. Sarah Hill Stylist says:

    Thank you for sharing, needed to read this today.

  5. That does sound like excellent advice! A timely reminder for me as well – thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Clara says:

    thank you so much for the advice! 🙂

  7. CJ Tours says:

    Amy always has such good advice, and it is important to care more about the craft than the response. Thanks so reminding us about that!


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